15 Forgotten Reasons Why 2000 Was The Best Year In Pop Music
1999 may have been the year of the ultimate pop takeover, with the quadruple-punch of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys dominating the airwaves. But it was 2000 that saw the peak of pop music, as the bubblegum hype spilled over to Europe. Sure, there were big songs like *NSYNC‘s “Bye Bye Bye,” Destiny’s Child‘s “Say My Name” and Jennifer Lopez‘s “Waiting For Tonight.” But forget about all that! The true gems came from talented newcomers who tried to make their own mark in the pop world.
While the careers of these pop acts ended up being comically fleeting, their 15 forgotten gems of Y2K pop continue to live on — from the nostalgia playlists on a college girl’s iPod to tacky underground techno clubs. So grab your Discman, throw on your sparkly halter top and journey through a musical time capsule below!
15. “Mirror Mirror” — M2M
Sweden may be the pop music mecca of the world, but back in 2000 Norway was only a few steps behind. The biggest act that came from the country was M2M, a duo composed of childhood friends Marion Elise Raven and Marit Elisabeth Larsen. One of their more memorable songs, “Mirror Mirror,” is quintessential moody pop music. But the breathy, Britney-esque vocals and eerie rhythmic guitars weren’t enough to prolong their career — M2M disbanded two years later.
14. “Dance With Me” — Debelah Morgan
For some inexplicable reason, Latin-infused music became ubiquitous in 2000. There was Ricky Martin‘s “She Bangs,” 98 Degree‘s “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche),” and Debelah Morgan‘s “Dance With Me.” Even though Morgan was the lesser-known artist out of the group, her sultry lyrics and powerhouse vocals immediately made her stand out. And how about that flawless whistle register towards the end of the song? Mariah…who?
13. “U+Me (Calculus)” — 2gether
It’s easy to forget that 2gether was not an actual band, because their fabricated music was just too catchy! Created by the masterminds at MTV, 2gether was a satirical creation based on boy bands like *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys. Their breakout hit, “U+Me (Calculus),” may seem foolish at first glance — but it can no doubt sit comfortably on albums like No Strings Attached and Black & Blue. 2gether’s synchronized harmonies and guitar-laden tunes worked in their favor – the band ended up opening for Britney Spears‘ summer tour that same year.
12. “I’m Outta Love” — Anastacia
In 2000, artists like Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton and Christina Aguilera were praised for their wide vocal range. But a name that was missing on the list of pop powerhouses was Anastacia. She got her start as a backup singer before breaking out on her own with her underrated debut single and only Billboard Hot 100 tune — “I’m Outta Love.” Anastacia may be small (she is a mere 5’2″) but her soulful voice made up for her tiny stature. Her gospel-inspired vocals paired with a pumping disco rhythm made “I’m Outta Love” a Y2K classic.
11. “See Ya” — Atomic Kitten
The UK has a knack for creating star-quality girl groups (Spice Girls anyone?) and during the the Y2K era, Liverpool-based Atomic Kitten definitely stood out. For teenage girls who were obsessed with everything pop, Atomic Kitten’s single “See Ya” became an instant favorite. Featured in the cult classic film Bring It On, the song is cheesy in the best possible way — thanks to the childlike piano notes and cheerleader-esque harmonies. While Atomic Kitten did not make huge waves in America, they continued to tour around the UK and even reunited last December.
10. “Another Dumb Blonde” — Hoku
The best way for pop stars of 2000 to create a mainstream buzz was to have their songs featured in teen films. Hawaiian-based singer Hoku got her big break with her single “Another Dumb Blonde,” which appeared in the Nickelodeon film Snow Day. It may seem like a paint-by-numbers pop song on the surface, but it is a girl power anthem with Hoku singing about kicking her no-good boyfriend to the curb. A year later, Hoku’s second big single “Perfect Day” became the theme song for Legally Blonde. It’s safe to say she is the Queen of Soundtracks of the early aughts.
9. “Don’t Think I’m Not” — Kandi
After her R&B girl group Xscape disbanded in 1999, Kandi Burruss took the opportunity to create a solo career. Her debut single “Don’t Think I’m Not,” off her album Hey Kandi…, has all the qualities that made her previous songwriting credits on Destiny’s Child “Bug A Boo” and TLC‘s “No Scrubs” such hits. With a “two can play that game” storyline, “Don’t Think I’m Not” is an ultra-sassy tune. But even with a Billboard charting song, Kandi’s music career quickly fizzled out. Her sophomore album Kandi Koated was released 10 years later and failed to create a buzz. Now her focus is her being a celebrity housewife on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
8. “Liquid Dreams” — O-Town
Numerous boy bands popped up during this era, and many had solid tunes that were able to stand next to those of their major competitors — thanks to Lou Pearlman. He was a music mogul responsible for the early careers of *NYSNC, Backstreet Boys and LFO. In 2000 he created Making The Band, where he gathered five boys and transformed them into O-Town. Their first single “Liquid Dreams” immediately separated them from other bands due to the not-so-subtle lyrics of — ahem! — wet fantasies about women. Three years later, the band broke up and Pearlman was later sent to jail for running one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in American history. Yikes.
7. “I Wanna Be With You” — Mandy Moore
In the midst of the blonde-haired teen beauties of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson was the youngest of them all — Mandy Moore. She made her saucy debut with 1999’s “Candy,” but 2000 displayed more of her raw talent. The string-laden ballad that was “I Wanna Be With You” is delicate, tugs at the heartstrings and showed a mature side to the singer. Like many other pop songs, the single ended up on a film soundtrack — this time for Center Stage. Mandy Moore has since traded singing for acting, but there is no forgetting the innocent charm she created during this era.
6. “Upside Down” — A*Teens
Since the 1970s, Sweden has held a tight grip on pop music. The country’s producers and songwriters have mastered a formula of churning out an absurd amount of pop stars who end up dominating the international charts. One of Sweden’s best creations in 2000 was A*Teens, a band that first began as tribute to ABBA but broke out of that mold with their cheery single “Upside Down.” It was their first time releasing an original song and is the epitome of sticky-sweet, bright-eyed, hook-based Europop.
5. “No More (Baby I’ma Do Right)” — 3LW
Just like boy bands, girl groups were quickly popping up during this period. One of the more talented (but most shaded) was 3LW. Taking notes from predecessors like TLC and Blaque, 3LW made traditional R&B relatable for young teens. Their best and biggest single, “No More,” became a TRL countdown favorite. After a fight that led to plates of KFC food being thrown (so ratchet) leading to replacing members a la Destiny’s Child, 3LW called it quits in 2003. Remaining members Adrienne Bailon and Kiely Williams went on to star in Disney Channel’s popular Cheetah Girls franchise until 2009.
4. “He Loves U Not” — Dream
Another girl group that showed promise in 2000 was Dream, thanks to their debut single “He Loves U Not.” The song was a hit, charting at #2 on Billboard and the video spent 65 days on the TRL countdown. It became the first video by a girl group to be retired on the show. Despite their obvious talent, Dream was hit with the inevitable Bad Boy Records curse and was quickly dropped from the label. With their sophomore album shelved without reason, the girls ultimately disbanded in 2003. Damn you Diddy!
3. “Never Had A Dream Come True” — S Club 7
S Club 7 was no doubt the biggest pop group of the teen era (literally — they had seven members), making waves both internationally and in their home country of England. Their music was pure, unadulterated pop music with soothing harmonies and tinges of R&B which made it less teen-centric and more mainstream. One of their most popular songs, “Never Had A Dream Come True,” showcases all of these elements. After five albums, a television series and 10 million records sold worldwide, S Club 7 sadly broke up in 2003. Dreams of a reunion tour have yet to come true…
2. “I Knew I Loved You” — Savage Garden
Some of the best pop music from the Y2K era came from outside America. Countries like England, Ireland, Sweden and Norway flooded the airwaves with numerous artists. But the best of them all arguably came from Down Under, care of Australian duo Savage Garden. They were known for their lovey-dovey ballads, and their heartbreakingly beautiful single “I Knew I Loved You” was a radio favorite. It is the perfect first wedding dance song, the perfect proposal song and the perfect song to bawl your eyes out to when missing a significant other. Sadly, after releasing only two albums, the duo split in 2001 — crushing girls’ (and some guys’) hearts everywhere.
1. “Gotta Tell You” — Samantha Mumba
Many acts in 2000 were bound to become one-hit wonders, but a handful of others showed potential. Samantha Mumba is one who had the star package yet never got the chance to make it big. The Irish singer rivaled her bottle-blonde pop counterparts across the pond with her sultry contralto voice and supermodel looks. Her single “Gotta Tell You” was the breakout song from her first and only studio album, and eventually became certified platinum. The singer took some time off to focus on her acting, but she has announced on Twitter that she’s making an official comeback for 2014!! Look out for her new single “Only Just Begun,” on February 21.